Et maintenant au Congo

By Jon Hillenbrand In Photography, Stories

Amy Ernst

Often when I am photographing wealthy socialites partying or buying art on the north shore of Chicago, I think of a friend of mine, Amy Ernst, who is in the Congo right now taking amazing photos of interesting people.  But she’s not there to take photos, she’s doing her part to help out in that war-torn part of the world.  I asked her to write up a paragraph about what she is doing abroad:

“I’m living in a monastery with about 50 Catholic priests and monks in Mulo and Musienene, two villages in North Kivu.  It is in what’s considered to be an active conflict zone, in that there are several factions of soldiers in the area and there are still “confrontations.”  That meaning, they still raid and pillage villages, stealing everything insight, killing people and raping whoever they want to.  I have affiliated myself with a small Congolese organization called COPERMA, that originally started to help people learn how to farm and breed animals more effectively, but has been trying to do damage control since the war started.  I guess I consider myself a freelance humanitarian. 🙂  I don’t actually work for anyone, I just kind of am trying to learn about the problem right now, and help in the small ways I can like helping this organization start keeping records of who they’re helping, helping recently raped women start small businesses, and helping people who are displaced by the war find ways to feed their children and also go to school.  I do all of this with the help of this Congolese organization, they have made it very possible for me to become part of the community here and I am more able to visualize and try to understand the various problems by working with them.  The problems are endless.”

Amy writes a fascinating blog called The King Effect.  She also has a photo gallery here: Amy E’s Public Gallery.  She recently had her camera stolen.  If any of you would like to contribute a few dollars so she can get a new one, click the donate button here:

Here are a few selections from her gallery:

1 Comment
  1. Jon Hillenbrand August 31, 2010

    Amy is now posting on the NY Times website. Check out one of her posts here…
    Notes from a Young American in Congo: Rape Continues


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